Hartford Harpoons – 97-65
Best Players – Robert Black, Brian Perez, Carlos Johnson, Andres Terrero
Team Rankings – 12th Pitching, 8th Offense, 1st Defense
Team Notes – A playoff team 3 out of the first 4 seasons in Morgan, Hartford made its first appearance in the World Series, losing the series 4-1. A superb fielding team as well as good offensively and defensively, this team stands a solid chance of repeating as NL champions next season. The core of this team is locked up for several more seasons which is a good thing since there does not appear to be many players beyond Rick Balboa in the minors on the verge of helping out in the near future. This team remains one of the top teams in the majors.
Richmond Redbirds – 92-70
Best Players – Al Pena, Enrique Ruiz, Douglas Parker, Pete Buddle
Team Rankings – 7th Pitching, 23rd Offense, 8th Fielding
Team Notes – Richmond just wrapped up the franchise’s 4th winning season under 4 different owners, but just their second playoff appearance. Good pitching and fielding drove this team in the past year while struggling to score. The core of this team is locked up for season 5, so look for a knock-out, drag-down fight for the division title between Richmond and Hartford. With an older AAA club, and extremely young, but talent-rich pitching staff in AA (8 of the top 10 players in AA are pitchers), this team could be a dangerous pitching club for years to come. The only prospect who looks to be ready to make the jump next season is AAA starter/stud Lou Gordon.
Louisville Sluggers – 86-76
Best Players – Robin Sullivan, Sam Rivera, Carl West, Dennis Walker
Team Rankings – 6th Pitching, 20th Offense, 6th Fielding
Team Notes – A team heavily dependent on former Reds, with 3 of his top 4 players coming from the cellar dweller of the North. Louisville is another team with 4 straight winning seasons and has 3 playoff appearances to their credit. Playing in arguably the toughest NL division, a 3rd place finish was good enough in Season 4 to garner the wild card berth, despite finishing 11 games out of first in the East. Most of his stars are locked up beyond this season, and with proper offseason development, prospects such as Danys Ramirez and Luke Paulson look to be ready to make the leap to the big-league level. This is going to be an exciting division for years to come.
Boston Blood Sox – 72-90
Best Players – Bonk Linton, Benj Clark
Team Rankings – 30th Pitching, 17th Offense, 23rd Fielding
Team Notes – With a young roster, in the most difficult division in the NL, this team may yet be a season or two away from making the playoffs. Bonk Linton projects to be an absolute stud and performed very well in his first season in the majors. With prospects such as Jason Cash, Dwight Forbes and Luis Sanchez in AAA chomping at the bit to get an opportunity in the majors, this team could well be a surprise team in the National league. Once again, though, it seems as just a bit of unfortunate luck that they reside in the East and could prove dangerous in Season 5, they likely won’t be ready to make their run at a title until Season 6.